I have committed many grave sins. Over and over.
I have been weak lately to sexual sins, and since I have yet to receive my sacraments, it is my understanding that I may not use the sacrament of reconciliation. I am then wondering, is there anything I can do to gain forgiveness? I was wondering if by pentence and acts of pentence such as fasting. And if so what else can I do besides fast? I feel as if its not enough at times. I would even flog myself like the monks did in the medieval times, but from fear of being institutionalized I don’t lol. But on a more serious note, I do feel overwhelming guilty.
You can confess to Jesus in private prayer. This is not forbidden by the church. Jesus after all is the High Priest. You can pray the following Act of Contrition prayer if you like, or simply confess to him with your own words. He will forgive you.
Act of Contrition prayer
“O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of Heaven, and the pains of Hell; but most of all because I love Thee, my God, Who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.”
I assume from your post that you are in the process of converting to Catholicism.
I was told by a priest, when I was on retreat a few weeks before my confirmation, that as long as I had been baptised I could receive the Sacrament of Reconcilliation. I don’t know if this is the rule everywhere or was only the case because the date for my reception and confirmation had been set and I had been through the Rite of Election.
Perhaps you could speak to a priest and ask his advice? Most of all, keep in mind that God’s Mercy is far, far greater than the worst sins you could ever commit. He is a loving Father, if you are unable to go to Confession, He knows and understands. Stop feeling guilty, when we repent of our sins, God forgets them.
While I was undergoing RCIA, I used to write letters to God, apologising for my sins and promising to fight the temptation to sin. If needs be, burn or shred the letter, offering it to God. I found this a good “stop-gap” technique while I was (impatiently!) waiting for my first confession.
Ask yourself this, if someone you loved very much had hurt or offended you and had apologised for their behaviour and was trying to treat you in a loving manner, would you want that person to flog themselves to show how sorry they were? Would you want them to feel endlessly guilty about something that they had done and apologised for? Would you want them to starve themselves, and constantly say sorry, when you had forgiven and forgotten the first time they said it? I imagine that you would be horrified and would be begging them not to flog, starve or punish themselves any more, assuring them of your forgiveness and love. Wouldn’t it cause you pain to see them behave in such a way, despairing of your mercy?
If you wouldn’t want someone you loved to do all these things, why would God, Who loves you more than you can imagine, want you to do them for Him?
Accept that God is a God of love and mercy, not punishment. Penance is a gesture of love, not a punishment for sin. It is not a case of needing to do an extreme physical penance in order to be forgiven. Pray to God and ask for the strength to avoid the sins you’ve committed in future. Jesus came to free us from sin and death, not imprison us in guilt and suffering.
You make sense. But at the same time I know that mortal sin cuts you from Gods grace. How then can I reconcile this, when the sacrament is not open to me? Or do I have a misunderstanding of the teaching?